When the leadership of the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists recommended to the Spring Meadows Church in Sanford, Florida that the congregation reconsider its invitation of Amazing Facts speaker Doug Batchelor to a series of meetings in October, calling Batchelor a "polarizing influence," the reaction was swift and, perhaps unsurprisingly, polarized.
Batchelor supporters and fans of his television ministry decried the move as heavy-handed, while those who disagree with Batchelor's strident anti-women's-ordination agitation lauded the move by the Florida Conference.
Amazing Facts issued a response on its website, noting that the meetings previously scheduled for Sanford have been moved to Lansing Michigan in the heart of the Michigan Conference, whose leadership is more in tune with Batchelor's stances. The message, signed by Pastor Jëan Ross, Amazing Facts' Vice President for Evangelism, follows in its entirety:
Amazing Facts has been receiving a number of inquiries regarding why our venue was changed from Sanford, Florida, to Lansing, Michigan, for the upcoming Heroes of Faith meetings beginning October 2.
In July, 4, 2014, Pastor Doug Batchelor spoke to a packed sanctuary at the Spring Meadows Church in Sanford, Florida, at which time the pastors and members there invited Amazing Facts to return in October 2015 for a 10-day evangelistic program.
In good faith of that invitation, the following year Amazing Facts invested significant time and resources toward planning and preparing for the success of the Heroes of Faith series.
However, following the General Conference session, we were contacted by the Spring Meadow pastor who told us that he was sorry to inform us that the Florida Conference leadership had advised his church to cancel these meetings.
Having not heard from the conference directly, Pastor Batchelor called and had a friendly conversation and prayer with the Florida Conference president, Mike Cauley, who said he felt that Pastor Batchelor’s position on women’s ordination was too polarizing and not in harmony with General Conference policy.
(Amazing Facts and Pastor Batchelor fully support the voted General Conference position regarding ordination, and the ministry has never traveled to other conferences to speak publically on this subject.)
Naturally, this was very disappointing as we had invested considerable funds in advertising material and broadcast time in the Orlando area.
However, Amazing Facts is very thankful for the invitation from the Michigan Conference to relocate the meetings to Lansing, where Pastor Batchelor and our media crew will be working with Pastor Wes Peppers, a former Amazing Facts evangelist and AFCOE leader. We are now moving ahead in faith, trusting that the Lord will work all of this together for good. We deeply appreciate your continued prayers, support, and encouragement!
Now, “forgetting those things which are behind” (Philippians 3:13), Amazing Facts intends to focus our full energies on preaching the three angels’ messages and bringing people into a saving relationship with Jesus.
For any other specifics regarding this matter, please contact the Florida Conference.
Finally, we encourage all our friends in Florida and around the world to participate in Heroes of Faith: Stories of Salvation for the Whole Family on 3ABN and AFTV beginning October 2. Please visit www.theheroesoffaith.com for more details about the program and how you can get involved!
In the Blessed Hope,
Pastor Jëan Ross
Vice President of Evangelism
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